niina.amniisia » bits, pieces and photos from sydney, australia and elsewhere

I’ve been podded (Sunday June 11th, 2006)

category: tech and web drivel

I’ve spent the past year waiting for my little iPod Shuffle to grow in to a full-bodied iPod but unfortunately it seems to have been the runt of the litter and remains at the same size.

Yesterday I adopted a sibling for Shuffle, a 30GB black iPod, which kept me busy integrating it in to my life. I think I’ll call her Mary.

Mary gobbled up all of my songs from iTunes (she’s a much faster eater than little Shuffle) and still had space for more. What to feed her with? I gave her the Glass Age’s iPod-ready “Seventh Strike” video (you can find it on their site under Shots > Moving), but still she complained of hunger. I tried to feed her some other videos but she spat them back saying they didn’t taste right. A little reading and I found you could right-click on videos in iTunes and choose “Convert selection for iPod” but it was garbling the names of the videos so I went searching…

The Jodix Free iPod Video Converter made nice neat .mp4 videos out of Jesus and Mary Chain mpgs and I spent a while staring at the little screen in awe - I still can’t get to grips with the speed of technology leaps these days, I had a JAMC video in my hand!

I then transfered some photos to Mary and watched as she showed a slide-show of pretty pictures to me. A little self-flipping photo album.. am I the only one who seems stunned/confused about this?

I explored the menus and found that Mary could even play games! No one ever told me this. So Solitaire isn’t much fun with the Click Wheel, and Brick and Parachute aren’t the most exciting things in the world (I’d prefer Tetris), but the Music Quiz is brilliant. The quiz plays you a short clip of a song from your playlists and shows you a selection of names - you have a limited time to match the song to the correct title. I played it for a while and wondered if there’s some quirky database that my iPod had referenced when I transferred the songs to it because most of the popular song clips would be near the chorus or other lines that would give away the title close to when the time limit ran out. There’s a lot of fun to be had with Music Quiz!

Then it was time to join Last.fm and start feeding it with what I’m listening to. Easy to join, iTunes sent the right information through and my tracks started showing up.

Seeing as my iPod was now feeding back to iTunes my ratings and the number of plays (which little Shuffle wasn’t able to do), I wanted to feed Last.fm from my iPod as well. I found iSproggler (who comes up with these names?) and got it installed (with a few error messages to boot but they didn’t seem to cause any problems). I had to switch off Last.fm’s iScrobbler inside iTunes and set up a “Recently Played” playlist for Mary but then it was syncing nicely to Last.fm whenever I plugged her back in and clicked the “Update iPod” button from the system tray.

Then I decided that I wanted to find some audiobooks in Finnish (as you do). I found “Helsinkiin” by Juhani Aho at LibriVox - a site that offers free audiobooks. I loaded it in to Mary but she doesn’t seem to know it’s an audiobook so it just shows up under Music.. by this stage I was too tired to investigate.

This morning I’ve placed a bit of code from Last.fm on to the right hand column of my homepage to show what I’m listening to.

So in summary, my iPod rocks except she’s now covered in finger prints and I’m worried about scratching her screen (must go shopping and find her a nice protective coat). She’s still hungry so I need to start copying some CDs to my PC and encoding more videos.

I feel so digital.

5 comments to “I’ve been podded”
Dan said on June 11th, 2006 at 8:53 pm:

I’m still MP3-less here (well, I have a CD walkman which plays CD MP3s), been waiting for something decent with 20Gb for under £100. Not too tempted by an iPod though, I’ve heard too many bad things about them, although your post almost swings me back in that direction.

An in-screen slide-show would be nice, I remember having that on my Sony Clié, it used to wow people down the pub, and now that I’m doing a lot more photography (and doing it semi-commercially) it would be very handy.

lostmusic said on June 12th, 2006 at 2:53 am:

IPODs are good. I did prefer Irivers until my Iriver went wrong. :-) I haven’t done much investigation on mine yet. And I’ve had it about 3 months already! Sadlt mine is full with only a quarter of my MP3s devoured. I need a 200gb MP3 player if truth be told.

niina said on June 12th, 2006 at 3:47 pm:

Dan - I’ve heard occasional bad things about them but as a brand name they’re popular enough that if it breaks in the first year under warranty I know I can get it easily replaced. And I have to say I’m amazed by how it works - the Click Wheel’s a bit funny but I’m getting used to it and I’ve now managed to sync it with my Google Calendar and there’s plenty more experimentation to be done. Get someone with an iPod video to demo the picture slideshow to you - it’s very slick.

lostmusic - your CD and mp3 collection is the biggest I’ve ever witnessed so I’m not surprised. My whole iTunes collection came in at 15GB however there’s a lot of CDs I’ve never bothered to copy across (yet!). Compared to my skinny little 512mb shuffle I’m a little lost what to do with all this music in one location. I have to start setting up proper playlists because I tried shuffling 15GB when I went out yesterday but kept getting tracks that I wasn’t too fussed hearing so I ended up sticking to a particular band (we know and love). With the shuffle I just had my favourites loaded in to it so walks to and from work filled my ears with the best songs I know. But this iPod is so far superior to the shuffle that I think it’s going to be a rare outing for the shuffle from now on.

Dan said on June 12th, 2006 at 8:38 pm:

Flimsiness is one reason putting me off iPods (I’ve heard of several which have broken shortly after the one year’s warranty is up, and apparently Apple are pretty inflexible about this - see for example this article: http://money.guardian.co.uk/consumernews/story/0,,1783814,00.html

But the main thing which puts me off is its Apple-centricness. Disclaimer: I’ve never owned or used one, so I may be talking guff, but from what I understand you have to synch it via iTunes. That’s anathema to the way I do things. I want an MP3 player which I can just put MP3s on, as if it were an additional disk drive, and then listen to them. I’ve been suckered by this kind of walled garden approach far too many times before to fall for it again. I have a minidisc player here which is absolutely useless because you can only get songs onto it via computer, using some piece of Sony software which supposedly checks that you don’t copy your CDs too many times. The software is screwy, and won’t let me copy any more tracks to any of my minidiscs. Grrrr.

I even fell for buying a Powerbook after years of sweet-talking from my Apple using friends. I won’t fall for that again. The Apple way of doing things is very much like the Sony way of doing things, only moreso. Get people hooked on their beautiful looking gadgets, then screw them as hard as you can if they ever want to upgrade or, god forbid, do things their own way rather than the prescribed Apple way.

Plus I have an (admittedly non-technical) friend for whom buying an iPod has turned out to be one of the most stressful experiences of her life. She moans about it to me every time I see her. She has had to re-install iTunes on her Mac so many times that she’s now no longer allowed to listen to the songs which she paid for from the iTunes music store, because her computer assumes that she keeps copying them to new machines.

The whole thing sounds like a minefield, and I’d much rather just get something which uses standards rather than restrictions.

BTW my own MP3 collection takes up about 120Gb, but I would probably only want the “five star” stuff on a portable player, which clocks up at about 5Gb at the moment, plus a few selected albums. Plus lots of photos perhaps.

heretic said on June 20th, 2006 at 11:03 pm:

welcome to the black ipod club ;) i have a 60gig video, it rocks.

sounds like you’ve done more tricks with yours though. how’d you synch your calendar with google calendar?

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